Many DuPage voters will face tax hike questions in April

 
 
Posted1/30/2017 5:33 AM
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  • Villa Park Library officials want to renovate and expand their facility, as this rendering shows.

    Villa Park Library officials want to renovate and expand their facility, as this rendering shows. Courtesy of Villa Park Library

DuPage County voters on April 4 will be asked to weigh in on referendum questions from 16 taxing districts, including schools, villages and townships.

Most will ask voters to dig deeper into their pocketbooks, but some are advisory questions to learn what they think about issues such as mosquito abatement and services for seniors.

Here's a look at some of the ballot questions submitted to the election commission:

• The largest funding request is in Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200, where officials want to borrow $132.5 million to help pay for $154.5 million in repairs, renovations and upgrades to 19 of the district's 20 schools.

The school board already has committed to using $22 million from future budgets and reserves to fund the projects.

If the district borrows the remaining $132.5 million, it would spend $83.6 million on capital projects, including $46.8 million at middle schools, $6.8 million at elementary schools, and $700,000 at the two high schools. In addition, roughly $16.6 million would be used to demolish the 59-year-old Jefferson Early Childhood Center and construct a new building to house the early childhood program.

If voters approve, the owner of a $322,300 home -- the median value in the district -- would pay an estimated $180 more a year in property taxes to the school district.

• Voters in West Chicago High School District 94 will be asked if the district can borrow $37.5 million to renovate its 90-year-old main building and add classrooms.

If approved, the district would use $20.5 million to replace mechanical systems, $8.4 million to renovate existing spaces, and $8.6 million to increase instructional space. There would be no rate increase in the district's debt service property tax levy.

If voters say no, their property taxes paid to the district would decrease about $94 per $100,000 of a home's appraised value.

• Voters in Villa Park will decide if they want to expand and renovate their public library.

Officials say the structure at 305 S. Ardmore Ave., built in 1969 and last renovated nearly 20 years ago, will need millions of dollars in repairs over the next five years.

The proposal calls for those repairs to be made and the 24,500-square-foot building to be expanded to 31,300 square feet. The library also would add parking, quiet reading rooms, group and private study areas, community meeting rooms and a larger area for teens.

To pay for the project, the library wants to borrow $10.6 million. If voters approve, it's expected to cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $90 more a year in property taxes.

• A plan to renovate obsolete science labs, replace aging technology and make other building repairs in Benjamin Elementary District 25 depends on voters giving the district permission to borrow $4.9 million.

The district already plans to borrow about $2 million to pay for construction projects this summer. If voters approve the request, the district would issue another $4.9 million in tax-backed bonds for a second phase of work in its two schools that serve students in West Chicago, Carol Stream and Winfield.

Right now, principal and interest payments on the district's existing debt are capped at $582,672 a year.

The ballot question seeks permission to raise that limit to $997,500 a year so the district could pay off the $6.9 million in loans in eight years.

If the measure fails, owners of homes valued at $250,000 would see their tax bills drop by about $220 because existing debt is coming off the district's books.

Those same homeowners would see their bills decrease an estimated $73 if voters approve the tax proposal.

Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 wants to build an addition to Hadley Junior High that would eliminate the need for portable classrooms.
  Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 wants to build an addition to Hadley Junior High that would eliminate the need for portable classrooms. - Mark Black | Staff Photographer

• Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 wants to borrow $24.2 million for an addition at Hadley Junior High and infrastructure projects in its four elementary schools.

If the measure is approved, it would earmark about $9.2 million to build a two-story, 11-classroom addition to replace Hadley's portable classrooms.

If voters reject the idea, the district's share of the property tax bill for the owner of a $373,200 home -- the average in Glen Ellyn -- is set to decrease by $248 because of the retirement of existing debt.

The tax bill for that homeowner would decrease by roughly $126 if voters approve the borrowing plan.

• Voters in Lisle and Naperville townships will decide if they want their road districts combined into one unit of government.

The binding proposal follows the results of two nonbinding questions on the Nov. 8 ballot that showed Naperville-area voters favor government cooperation and consolidation.

• Other taxing bodies with questions on the ballot are the Itasca Fire Protection District, the villages of Woodridge and Wayne, Bartlett Fire Protection District, Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District, Center Cass School District 66 and Hinsdale High School District 86.

Addison, Bloomingdale and Milton townships all have advisory questions. Milton has three, including one asking if it should enter into an intergovernmental agreement to improve mosquito abatement service and another asking if it should expand its senior services program.

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